Yesterday I came home from the senior philosophy thesis defenses to find my bed full of balloons. You just never know what’s going to happen around here. I needed a nap, though, and balloons weren’t going to make that easy, so I put them in the crib with all of Mia’s little stuffed animals that have been there for when you’re stressed and just need to hug a small stuffed guinea pig (Webkinz, if you’re familiar with those). It’s a happy crib.
My housemates were celebrating with balloons because that was it for me. I defended my thesis that morning, turned in my last paper, and boom, undergrad done. One minute you’re having a controlled panic (maintaining an only half terrified look on your face while your stomach and brain dance around in a frenzy) about this hour-long defense of your work, and the next you’re done with all of your college work.
By some miracle, all of my housemates were free last night. So we went out for pizza (naturally). And then after that Kristin came downstairs, “Oh, we forgot something! This is the second half of your surprise.” Then she hung four Mardi Gras necklaces on me. “We’re so proud of you.”
So today I’m unanchored. Nothing is due today. Nothing will ever be due again, not here. The only thing on my schedule is graduation rehearsal this evening, and picking up my regalia. I have to pack, but nothing else is going on.
These are the strangest days, the transitional ones. There’s a new reality to wrap my mind around. Going home. Getting a job (someday soon).
Maybe no transition in my life has quite compared to this. I’ve been a student since I was 5. The last 16.5 years of my life have been progressing from one step of education to another. I know everyone has a moment when their education is “over” (but it’s never over when you can read), but is it always this strange?
I’ve introduced myself for the past three and a half years as “Ashley: English and Philosophy major, student, North Park, intern, writing advisor…” Now I’m “Ashley: person.”
It’s not quite an identity crisis, but I wonder when I stop telling people what I majored in. When does that stop being relevant? Probably a few years into career work.
I’ve been sort of dreading this transition for a while now, thinking about the uncertainty and having to answer all the questions. People ask because they’re curious and because they care, not because they want to pressure me into having a plan, but I’ll still have to say that I’m not sure what’s next.
This is the part where I tell you that I know God has something good in store. But it’s also the part where I tell you that I don’t know what and I don’t know when and I don’t know when I’ll know anything for sure.
This is the part where I start to testify. I remind myself (and you) of all the strange ways I’ve gotten employment and been called to things in the past:
- through a freelancing website
- through my mom’s friend who had all the connections
- by asking on a whim if someone needed me to work for them
- when I friend asked on a whim if I’d work for her
- through a random job posting that sounded cool
- when someone approached me and asked me to replace them
- through an ex-boyfriend’s mom
- by having someone refer me to all the people they know
It’s always through people, and it’s always not exactly what I expected. And it’s ALWAYS been good (though in different ways and doesn’t always feel like it right away) and right on time.
So this is the part where I remind myself (and you, if you’re here, too) that something good is on the way, and it’s worth being faithful for. It’s worth telling people that I’m hopeful and confident that God is going to provide the right opportunity, and until then I’m just applying and making connections. Then, when he does, we’ll all see that it was worth it.
When the world tells me that I need to be stressed and worried about this, and when my own body and mind tell me I need to be anxious and fret over this, I remember how little that has ever done for me. I acknowledge the legitimacy of the feeling and remind myself that God is for me. And for you.